Pilates was originally developed as not just a system of exercise, but as an all around lifestyle change. By utilizing and diligently practicing the forms, one can attain a greater value than just six-pack abs; one can attain a higher state of consciousness that improves one’s entire life. When discussing the benefits of pilates, it’s important to keep this in mind.
That said, one of the first and most obvious benefits is that pilates will strengthen and tone your muscles. You’re going to be employing a lot of resistance and performing a lot of intense stretches that can really take you to the limit. The result is that your muscles are going to grow larger, stronger, and better looking.
Beyond that, however, the benefits of pilates continue. Even restricting ourselves to the mere physical realm, it’s easy to see how pilates improves posture dramatically. By exercising the forms of the discipline, one brings one’s systems into alignment, until the spine is perfectly supported at all times by powerful core muscles.
Breathing is a vital part of pilates practice, but its benefits extend beyond the mat. As you cultivate a routine of breathing, you’ll find that you become much more cognizant of each and every breath. Soon, you will be able to apply this kind of intense focus to any moment or any aspect of your life. This is an invaluable resource.
One is also supposed to attain what is called “centering” by engaging in the practice of pilates. This means that the spine is brought into proper alignment and that one has attained a grace and balance of movement that is easy to call upon and requires no effort. At the same time, however, it also means having one’s emotions in balance at all times.
As you can see, each physical component of pilates has a spiritual counterpart. As we perform the physical techniques, we also gain in some measurable way in the spiritual realm. The benefits of pilates cannot be understood without first attaining this realization.